The best of the year…
And so, we reach the end of 2022. A year packed with incredible games, hefty rumours and some fantastic reveals. But which of the games are the absolute best? Well, fear not, as we’ve put together a top ten, as well as a few additional categories to have a read through! This piece will focus on the Top Ten, with the additional categories included in the video and podcast episodes below!
10 – Metal Hellsinger
Metal Hellsinger fuses an FPS with a rhythm action game, alongside a brutal, pumping soundtrack to give an experience like few other. Essentially Doom meets Rock Band, it’s an absolute ton of fun, and deserves your attention. The sheer exhilaration when you hit the 16x multiplier and the vocals kick in is something to behold, and when you play it with the volume up loud, you can’t help but nod your head in time with all of your attacks. A fantastic title.
Ben: Metal Hellsinger started off quite slow, but by the end of the second level I was all in. A brilliant blend of action, music and stunning visuals at times, there aren’t many games that grab you by the throat and don’t let up quite like this. Hammering away at the final boss while Serj Tankian from System of a Down was screaming in his melodic fasion was an absolute joy, and it’s a game I’ve dipped back into quite a bit
9 – Marvel’s Midnight Suns
What do you get when you give Firaxis, one of the best strategy developers on the planet, full access to the Marvel Universe? Well, you get the engrossing and deep title that Midnight Suns became. Something of an off-radar hit, it ended up becoming one of the best games of the year with its mix of card based battling, RPG elements and fantastic story. If you’ve got any affinity for Marvel at all, then you should go check this one out!
Ben: Midnight Suns is a game that I thought would be very good, but turned out to be nothing short of great. The combat is perfectly paced, and has that intangible Firaxis quality, but the side stories and relationship building are what set this apart from the likes of XCOM and other titles. I’ve yet to finish it due to Christmas and other stuff getting in the way, but man, what a game this is.
8 – TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
TMNT Shredder’s Revenge is a pixel-perfect throwback to the arcade games that everyone knows and loves from our favourite half-shelled heroes. Frantic combat, varied characters and plenty of depth all combine to create a wonderful experience.
Gari: What can I say about TMNT: Shredders Revenge. This is how a game with its retro look and feel should be created to celebrate the retro gaming from the 90s. It’s clear that the developers respect the old retro scene so much when you start playing this game. From the beautiful retro visuals to the incredible soundtrack and everything in between including its fantastic and varied gameplay styles depending on which Turtle you use. TMNT: Shredders Revenge has a lot more depth than I every thought it would have once the story has been completed but it keeps you busy with collectibles to keep you occupied. The level of respect shown here to the by gone era of gaming is astonishing. If you love side-scrolling beat-em-ups and a retro feel, then this is one for you. TMNT: Shredders Revenge is a beautiful love-letter to retro gaming which is just as great to play as it is to gawp at.
7 – Pokemon Legends Arceus
The first of a couple of Pokemon games released this year, Arceus gave us the title I think most people have wanted for ages. A 3D Open World game that has a ton of stuff to do, Arceus scratched an itch that people had, and left them hungry for more!
Nico: Pokemon Legends Arceus absolutely blew away all the pre-conceptions I had of it. I went from thinking it would be a spin off Pokemon title I’d try out to religiously completing tasks in my pokedex to “100%” the game and I absolutely loved it. Whilst the game clearly struggled on the Switch hardware, it excelled in every other area. Art direction was beautiful, the shake up was sorely needed and I loved exploring a world before Pokemon Gyms were the be all and end all of your experience.
6 – Horizon Forbidden West
The next chapter in Aloy’s story is a fantastic example of how to do a sequel properly. Horizon Forbidden West expands on the first game in ways that were unexpected at times, but surprised us in all the best ways. Underwater sections that didn’t feel like a chore, flying sections that allowed us to soar over the landscape, and a breathtaking set of environments all combined to create an excellent sequel that deserve its place in our Top Ten.
Ben: Going into Forbidden West, I didn’t really know what to expect outside of “More of the same”. Thankfully, it expands on the concepts and mechanics put forward in Zero Dawn to give a really enjoyable open world set in the west of the US, with Las Vegas being a particular highlight once you get there. Superb visuals and an array of new toys to play with push this slightly beyond what was expected by most of a sequel, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable.
5 – Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby made his long awaited return on the Switch this year, and swallowed up a bunch of cars, cones and everything in between to provide us with this joyous tale. A strange combination of a post apocalyptic world and Nintendo’s trademark cartoony visuals, it all comes together into something that’s truly fun to play, and makes it into our list at number 5.
Gari:The premise of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a strange one on paper. It’s essentially a cross between Nintendo’s version of The Last of Us mixed in with a 3D Mario title and a game about being a vacuum. Yep, it does sound completely random, but I’m not even kidding here. Once you start to play the game though, you’ll realise just how amazing it is with its typical Kirby look and feel thanks to Nintendo’s history of creating beautiful 3D worlds based around their iconic characters. The game has a ton to keep you engrossed in its world and it’s story. A plethora of collectibles are dotted about the world and throw in a co-op mode for you and a buddy to experience the story in and there is enough to keep you throughly entertained. Kirby is a bit of a unsung hero within Nintendo’s vast array of popular characters, but this game proves that with the right team and the correct vision behind it, another fantastic Nintendo 3D platformer has been born into Nintendo’s expansive library.
4 – Stray
The cat game. It was always going to get people’s attention, wasn’t it? Possibly the most wholesome game of the year, with a few moments of abject terror thrown in for good measure, Stray found its way into everyone’s hearts this year. If there are any developers reading, including a dedicated “Meow” button is a sure-fire way to get into our future Top Tens!
Gari: Stray was such a surprise hit when it hit the PS5 in July. In this platforming title with puzzle elements, you play as a cat in a dystopian city and in search of answers regarding the city’s people. Developer BlueTwelve Studios are clearly cat people as they’ve captured the essence of the feline world with the reliance of climbing, running away from dangers, clawing at rugs and knocking shit off ledges. Whilst the game is a short one, this is one of its strengths as the pacing and the story isn’t rushed and it’s told with charm and heart. Also, the fact that it has a ‘meow’ button it should automatically be classed as a hit. Stray is a fantastic and heartfelt story that will have you wanting more from its beautiful world and it’s story. One of 2022’s games to play and if you have a spare few hours, do the right thing and play this right away.
3 – Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors has to be the surprise hit of 2022. A borderline idle game that sees you move your character while attacks happen automatically, it’s the perfect “Oh just one more go” game. A simplistic art style and phenomenal soundtrack combine to produce something intriguing and compelling, with hooks so big, they’ll get under your skin in no time and refuse to let go.
Nico: Well this is a title I didn’t expect to be adding to this list. VS is quite possibly one of the most addictive games I’ve ever played. The “retro” style initially put me off but the simple yet genius concept has had me hooked for hours and hours on my iPhone. Power up, kill everything in sight and survive as the title suggests! I’ve gone on to buy the title on Steam now too so I can play it on Mac/PC/Steam Deck too. I’m only gutted that cross save from mobile to Steam isn’t a thing!
2 – Elden Ring
Well, it was always going to be between two games, wasn’t it? Elden Ring is the stunning pinnacle of From Software’s action RPG mountain. A breathtaking landscape that throws you in and lets you get on with it, bosses that will punish you for the slightest misstep, and the Soulsborne games’ inimitable combat and storytelling. Elden Ring is one of the deepest games you could hope to encounter, and had the NGB team (even Ben) playing for hours on end.
Kieran: Many wondered how a SoulsBourne game would work in an open-world setting, and, as it turns out, it works pretty fucking well! Elden Ring keeps the essence of what makes those games great while expanding its vision tenfold. The difficulty and rewarding gameplay, the incredible character design, the impressive boss fights, and the melancholic voile draped over it all, are all here, but it’s much more grandiose and strangely approachable.
But the thing that makes Elden Ring so damn good is its approach to open-world gaming. Open-world games of late are more akin to adult colouring books or dot-to-dot puzzles. A giant expanse riddled with icons for you to work your way through. And as you check off these tasks, the titular character regales you with their internal monologue externalised as a means to force you down the path of continuing the story
“Maybe I should head to the big gate to see what Mr Chubbins needs”
“Maybe you should shut up and let me enjoy myself, Barry”
Elden Ring has none of this. Instead, you’re dropped into this beautifully realised world, ready to explore completely at your leisure. It’s the first time in a game that I’ve actually felt like I’m heading on an adventure. And, because of its difficulty and how you can lose all your runes when you ‘get got’, there’s also a sense of genuine danger to exploring. It’s unlike anything I’ve played before. FromSoftware hasn’t only managed to successfully create their best game, they’ve managed to create possibly the best open-world game I’ve played
Next Gen Base’s Game of the Year 2022: God of War Ragnarok
I mean… It almost had to be, didn’t it? Kratos’ adventure continues with a phenomenal dive into the psyche of a man who used to rip gods apart with his bare hands. Atreu’s story expands after finding out he is part god, all while trying to find out who he truly is in the Norse lands, and everything else is caving in around them as they try to stop the apocalypse. Sumptuous visuals accompany a truly heartfelt story in a game that stands as one of the most impressive titles we’ve ever seen. Technically flawless, narratively brilliant and with a set of mechanics that would make a branch of Kwik-Fit feel inadequate, God of War Ragnarok is our deserved Game of the Year for 2022.
Nico: For me, the game of the year was GOW Ragnarok, and it’s an easy decision for me. Sony Santa Monica have done such an incredible job, not just matching the previous 2018 release but actually improving upon it. From the PS5 worthy visuals, to the beautiful award winning score by Bear McCreary to the magnificent, and I really mean magnificent, story being told. God of War has never been this good before and it’s truly a feat that they pulled off such a masterstroke even during covid.
Gari: God of War 2018 was a masterpiece of how a games change in direction can alter a somewhat stale series into a master of both storytelling and game design in equal measures. Now in 2022 it’s God of War Ragnarok time to shine and it carries on the same cinematic masterpiece with some of the best combat and set-pieces anywhere in gaming in 2022. A masterful sequel that deserves its place as one of the greatest titles this year. Whilst it probably doesn’t have the same impact as the 2018 God of War game did (due to that being such a huge change in style compared to the older GoW titles), Ragnarok hits all the right notes in what it’s trying to achieve. Brilliantly acted, a compelling story, a visual masterpiece and fantastic combat all put together equals one of the best titles on any platform in 2022.
Ben: Put simply, one of the most accomplished games I’ve ever seen. Every inch of the landscape has been crafted to perfection, while combat has been improved from an already exceptional base. The pacing of the story is simply perfect, with each beat pulling you into a false sense of security before dropping another bombshell. I cannot wait for New Game Plus so I can do it all over again next year.